While Islamist groups like CAIR deny the reality of honor killings — which typically involve a young Muslim woman being murdered by one or more male relatives intent on restoring the family's "honor" after her "un-Islamic" deeds — the British government not only recognizes this scourge, but is taking action to combat it. For the first time, law enforcement officials have been issued specific guidelines for investigating honor-based violence and protecting those at risk:
Hundreds of attacks are to be treated as "honor" crimes in a new drive by police to prosecute more offenders.
Prosecutors hope the drive will also ensure that victims receive more rapid protection that can save them from possible further violence or a forced marriage.
Under the new guidance it will be assumed that an "honor" crime has been committed in any case in which there is the slightest sign that such an offense has taken place — even if the victim has not reported it.
Recent news items from across the West underscore the need for an effective strategy:
- UK (July): A Danish-born Muslim man suffered stab wounds, was beaten with bricks, and had acid poured down his throat "for having a relationship with a married woman."
- Canada (July): Muslim parents, along with their son, were charged with premeditated murder after their three teenage daughters and the father's first wife were discovered dead in a submerged car. The girls' Westernization has been suggested as a motive.
- Germany (August): A Muslim asylum seeker was found guilty of brutally killing his German-born wife because, in the words of the prosecutor, she was "too independent."
- Canada (September): A judge ordered a Muslim father and son to stand trial next year for the 2007 strangulation murder of sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez, who had defied her father's demand that she wear the hijab.
- Italy (September): A Moroccan confessed to stabbing his daughter to death for "dishonoring the family," based on her relationship with a non-Muslim man.
- United States (September): The mother of Sarah and Amina Said finally described their January 1, 2008, shooting deaths as an "honor killing" carried out by their Muslim father.
The West must learn from its past mistakes. Last year British officials admitted that the system had "let down" a murdered Muslim woman named Banaz Mahmod, whose pleas for help had been ignored by police. The nation's new approach to honor crime reflects the lessons of this tragedy. Now other countries should follow the UK's lead. Innocent lives hang in the balance.